Article Contents

  • 1. General preparation
    • 1.1. Eccentric movement
    • 1.2. Isometric training
    • 1.3. Concentric training
    • 1.4. On-lane general prep
  • 2. Specific preparation
    • 2.1. On-lane specific preparation
  • 3. Pre-competition
    • 3.1. On-lane training for pre-competition
  • 4. Competition phase training
    • 4.1. On-lane competition phase training
  • 5. Rest
    • 5.1. Physical recovery
    • 5.2. Mental recovery
  • 6. Final thoughts

Aside from identifying the areas of your game to work on, one of bowling’s biggest challenges is knowing what to work on, and when. When it comes to off-lane training, how do you balance your workouts with your tournaments so that you’re not sore while competing?

Competitive athletes in almost every sport use something called “training periodization” to manage their sport-specific and general training. The training periods consist of the following phases:

  • general preparation,
  • specific preparation,
  • pre-competition,
  • competition, and
  • rest.

A simple way to understand this is to look at most team sports that have the following phases for each season:

  • Off-season training: Athletes focus on overall strength and conditioning.
  • Training camps: Athletes work on sport-specific and position-specific skills.
  • Pre-season: Teams and athletes consolidate strategy and skills in a higher-intensity atmosphere.
  • Regular season and playoffs: Everything counts.
  • Early off-season: Athletes relax and recover from the season.

The goal is for athletes to peak during the season and—more specifically—during the playoffs in terms of fitness and performance.

Many individual sports, such as tennis and golf, follow a similar idea, but they have multiple “peaks” in the year around their major championships. These athletes generally want to peak for the majors, which are spread throughout the season, while also competing through the regular season at a high level.

Depending on your level of competition as a bowler, you might have a single peaking cycle where you bowl your league(s) and focus on one main tournament toward the end of the season, such as the USBC Open Championships. Other bowlers might have several major competitions, as well as their leagues and various other “minor” tournaments. This could be a weekend warrior with a few big-money events on their schedule that rank higher than the typical weekend sweeper, or a professional bowler whose focus is really on national tournaments and majors, but also bowls regionals and other ...

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Heather Sterner

About Heather Sterner

Heather is an NSCA-certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Functional Strength Coach, and a Licensed Massage Therapist. She has a Master's in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). Heather is a former collegiate bowler for Robert Morris University and assistant coach for the University of Central Missouri. She currently works with athletes of all sports and has recently launched BowlFIT, a website with training programs for bowlers. Heather is also the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for SUNY Brockport.

Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Bowling This Month's Director of Content. He is also currently the Head Coach for Team Canada, with over 20 years of experience coaching bowlers of all levels. Tyrel is an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian national champion.